Christmas is great, Hanukkah is great, but I really think Festivus has excellent potential as a holiday for the chronically ill. Hear me out.
For those who don’t know what Festivus is, it is an invented satirical holiday that originally appeared in the Seinfeld episode “The Strike.” It features a plain aluminum pole instead of a tree, as well as the traditional practices of the Airing of the Grievances and the Feats of Strength. Check out the short video at the bottom.
1) Plain Aluminum Festivus Pole
No need to worry about ticks on your live Christmas tree, allergic reactions to pine, or sensitivity to smoky Hanukkah candles. The unadorned metal pole is perfect for chemical sensitivities. It stands there on your living room floor, causing no reactions whatsoever. You don’t even have to clean up floaty bits of tinsel. (Note: The Chronic Illness Festivus Pole does not contain any allergenic metals, such as nickel or cobalt. It is also free of heavy metals, such as mercury, that you may have paid big bucks to have removed from your body.)
2) The Airing of the Grievances
Who has more Grievances to Air than spoonies? The traditional Festivus celebration involves telling your family how they have disappointed you throughout the year, but spoonies can really expand this to include things like:
1) The treatment of Lyme disease by the medical profession, going all the way back to Allan Steere, the Dearborn case definition, the LYMErix vaccine–you name it, we can turn Festivus Lyme green.
2) The treatment of thyroid disease by the medical profession, including the exclusive use of the TSH test to diagnose, the prescribing of antidepressants to treat thyroid symptoms, and all the doctors who have told you that your inability to lose weight despite eating 1200 calories a day and exercising has nothing to do with your thyroid
3) The treatment of MCS and ME/CFIDS by the medical profession
4) People who douse themselves in perfume and walk into elevators/insist on sitting in your general vicinity
5) Your friends who don’t get it, your relatives who don’t get it, your partners who don’t get it, random strangers who don’t get it
6) Anyone who tells you that you don’t look sick
7) Your crappy health insurance, which just sent you a bill for $2000 even though they know damn well that procedure you had was covered
8) Politicians who want to repeal your crappy health insurance and replace it with something significantly crappier
3) The Feats of Strength
The traditional Feats of Strength involve pinning the host to the Festivus table. This isn’t possible for us, but we have engaged in many, many feats of strength throughout the year that would be very challenging for able-bodied people.
A) Extreme Food Allergen Avoidance
B)Navigating Life With Brain Fog
C) Coping With Annoying Comments
D) INFORMAL, NONACCREDITED MEDICAL STUDIES COMPLETED WHILE BRAIN-FOGGED
How many of your non-sickly friends can understand the following sentence?
Seriously, what would happen if we all received academic credit for the amount of time we spent reading about our diseases and conditions?
Do you have any more Feats of Strength or Grievances? Please let me know in the comments. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and of course Happy Festivus!